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Review: We Are Scientists with Rewards at Metro Gallery, October 15

Midnight Sun contributor Mike Duffy on We Are Scientists, Rewards and U.S. Royalty at Metro Gallery, October 15.

We Are Scientists know how to play to their fans. The 200 or so that crammed into Metro Gallery Friday night got their $10 bucks worth as the Californians delivered a snappy set from their latest album, "Barbara."

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Those who weren't as familiar got a show where the songs were sometimes indistinguishable from one another, but where they also got introductions to two other bands they should start paying more attention to.

Washington's U.S. Royalty kicked off the night with their brand of stomping swamp boogie. They played six new songs from their upcoming album, "Mirrors", including the wispy but melodically-charging "Equestrian."

Rewards, Aaron Pfenning's two-person outfit out of Brooklyn, followed with their the ethereal synth-rock, making for a diverse double bill before the scientists came on stage.

The decade-old, four-piece W.A.S. played a 16-song set going back as far as 2005's "With Love And Squalor." Their sound is a little Franz Ferdinand, a little Klaxons, and a lot of Brit punk pop.

For most of their show, they stuck to that familiar genre of dance punk, which their largely college-aged audience ate up. Fists were up in the air at least 10 rows back. Slowly, they picked up steam, leading up to their latest "Barbara" single, “Rules Don’t Lie." And then, nine songs in, their biggest U.S. hit, “Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt."

After that,  singer Keith Murray got more comfortable on stage, delivering a muscular performance for the die-hards at the front. They zoomed through the rest of their set with more nuggets from their five-album catalog, closing with a new song – "Jack and Ginger" – and the anthemic "After Hours."

That song was an appropriate note to end the night on: "But if we have to go now/I guess there's always hope that someplace will be serving after hours."

Set list:
Nice Boys
Cash Cow
Impatience
Let's See
I Don't Bite
This Scene Is Dead
Inaction
Rules Don't Lie
Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt
Central AC
Textbook
Tonight
Break It Up
The Great Escape
Jack & Ginger
After Hours

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Mike Duffy writes for baltimoreravens.com. He has contributed to Midnight Sun before.

Photo: Masterswan Recordings

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